Feed on

Arsenal hosted Burnley this afternoon at TNHOF, our very own Ashburton Grove. And while Burnley spent a good portion of the game acquitting themselves rather well against some occasionally beautiful Arsenal play, in the end the Gunners put the Clarets to the sword of a 3-1 victory. Having watched the game with the Silicon Valley Gooners in San Jose, I can say we all agreed on one thing: Burnley’s away kit makes ours look like something you might see in the halls of Paris’s haute couture.

We lined up pretty much as we had to, given our injury list. I was still disappointed there was no Ramsdale to start, and while Raya was wrong-footed by the deflection on Burnley’s goal he didn’t make any mistakes with the 4 saves or 3 corners that came his way. Our back line was absent one Benjamin White, for the first time all season. Tomi came in for him and very quietly (and without flash) played a man-of-the-match performance, even as Koleosho challenged him all night with his speed; Saliba, Gabi, and Zinchenko were likewise excellent, and at times amazing, all game long.

Our midfield consisted of Jorginho, Rice, and Havertz, which was where we were weakest. Solid, but no creativity, and most of the times I was cheering their play was on the defensive side (and when Havertz went off; he is a trier, working hard to why he’s worth £65 million…maybe he will finally do so after the coming international break). Up front our three of Gabigol, Trossard, and Saka alternated between thrilling and very, very quiet. In the first half so much came down Saka’s side, and in the second we seemed to concentrate on Gabi’s play, where he interchanged again and again with Trossard and Rice.

The first shot on goal went to the visitors; they actually had three attempts on goal in the first half that could have put them on the scoreboard with better finishing. In the 8th minute Burnley worked it up from the back, passed crossfield (through what I think was an unplanned dummy) as they moved forward at pace. Amdouni was left in a cushion of space by Zinny, Gabi, and Rice, from which he stung Raya’s palms with a rasping shot parried into touch. Their corner came to nothing. Arsenal’s first shot was a powerful Saka blast in the second phase of a corner kick. Young Trafford made a brilliant fingertip save, pushing it just onto and over the bar from such close range.

Around 30 minutes in, Raya caught a looping Rodriguez header just in front of the bar, just before a loose Havertz header that went high and wide (from another corner). Then Gudmundsson took advantage of a rare Saliba miscue to fire from the edge of the box; Raya got a hand to it and Gabriel cleared the ball into touch. Credit to Zinchenko for following the Burnley player all the way in to the box, and limiting his angle so Raya could save. Rodriguez fired from the same spot a minute later; Raya saved easily, gathering at the second attempt.

For most of the first half we were the better team but fairly sterile in possession. Crosses were sent in from either side, we got a number of corners, and we just couldn’t work anything well enough to make a goal. In the 36th minute Rice (another candidate for MOTM, who is so much worth his £105 million fee) robbed a Burnley player in the middle of their half, and passed to Havertz. His pass to Trossard on the left was late and behind him, and the play could have been throttled; instead, Trossard shifted it on to his left foot and lashed a shot that Trafford did well to deflect over the bar. A meter to the left and it would have been the first goal.

And then the goal did come. Right as we approached first-half stoppage time we moved the ball from left to right and back to left again, and Zinchenko looped a ball to the center of the box. Saka beat Havertz to the header, which he sent to the onrushing Trossard to head in by the left post…into which he slammed after the ball nestled in the net. Cue pandamonium at the bar, tempered by concern for Leo. It looked like a dislocated shoulder, or worse, a collarbone break, but it was neither. After a few minutes of treatment he walked off under his own steam and returned to see out the last few minutes of extra time.

Arsenal 1-0 Burnley (Trossard, 45+1)

There were no changes at the half, either in personnel or, as one might hope when the teams returned to the pitch, in the tenor of the game. Arsenal had controlled it well, with Burnley looking to play on the break. But in the first minute of the half Burnley intercepted a Raya long ball on their left; Koleosho was away and into Arsenal’s half in a flash. He had Saliba to beat, and slowly got ahead of the Frenchman. Fortunately, once into the box Saliba stretched out a long leg and poked the ball behind for a corner kick, without giving VAR even a hint to have to look for a penalty. Perhaps the tenor was tightening up, becoming more of an alto?

Burnley drew level due to more good work from Koleosho, who took a ball down against Tomi to the byline. It looked like he fouled Tomi before getting off a cutback to Rodriguez, whose low shot glanced of the heels of Brownhill past Raya into the net. Certainly VAR would look at the play leading to the goal and assess whether it should have stood? It did, VERY briefly, and it did. I can’t say it was as clear and obvious a miss by VAR as Joelinton’s two-handed push on Gabriel being determined not a foul, but it certainly reinforced the bitter aftertaste.

Arsenal 1-1 Burnley (Brownhill, 54)

I said to my mates at the bar that, by God, let’s see Arsenal play angry. As in “F!#$ this s#$!”. And as sure as the woad-daubing team in Middlesex are s#$!, Arsenal ascended and pressed Burnley hard from the restart. Within three minutes Martinelli picked up a pass ahead by Rice, rushed forward and had his goal-bound shot saved by Trafford, who knocked it out for a corner. Trossard’s corner was excellent, deep into the box and into the crowd, from which Big Bill Saliba rose and headed home. Cue pandemonium in the bar, the stadium, and wherever Arsenal fans gathered, along with repetitive “Saliba!” chants.

Arsenal 2-1 Burnley (Saliba, 57)

Immediately after the goal Havertz was replaced by Vieira, and Martinelli nearly lost a mouthfull of teeth to the heel of a defender’s boot. Besides that there was little Burnley could do to take the ball from Arsenal, who moved it around and between, all over the pitch for most of the next quarter hour. Koleosho and Rice both missed attempts at goal, and then Arsenal won a corner. After another excellent delivery by Trossard the ball was half-cleared out to Zinchenko, who laced a Miyagi-influenced Crane volley into the upper right corner of the net. A brilliant goal.

Arsenal 3-1 Burnley (Zinchenko, 74)

The rest of the game played out as it had started, though Arsenal continued to press for a fourth goal. Two pairs of substitutes (one from each team) came on in the 81st minute, and then a touch and a problem. Vieira went in late on Brownhill, missed the ball, and touched his studs to Brownhill’s knee on the way down. Referee Michael Oliver immediately, not to say gleefully, went to his pocket and showed our Portuguese destroyer the red card. Truthfully, we in the bar agreed we’d see red if the card wasn’t given the other way. The question was raised, however, as to why Udogie got off with just a yellow on his first against Chelsea in last week’s ScumHumbling (mate!), or how the excuse not to give Kovacic a red card of “just above the ankle” for his horror tackle on Ødegaard a month ago squares with the decision to award red to Vieira.

No matter. Even down to ten we were a match for the Clarets. After Kiwior was brought on for Martinelli, the rest of the game was an exercise in playing out the win. Burnley had a couple of attempts on goal, but nothing that bothered either the defense or our keeper. After 11 minutes of stoppage time the referee thrice blew his whistle and pointed to the center spot.

Full time: Arsenal 3-1 Burnley

Overall, a lot to be happy about in this game. We scored three nice goals, two from set pieces or initiated by them, and held Burnley to a mildly contestable goal against. Tomi played a silky, subtle, and incredibly active game that could have gone unnoticed, and the rest of the defense was nearly faultless. Our forward play was often just one interchange or cross from opening the Burnley defense like a laser can opener. While our midfield wasn’t exactly on song, we were able to control large stretches of the match, moving the ball into good positions all over the pitch. Raya played well, distributing the ball with aplomb, and controlling his area with more command than we’ve recently seen.

On the other hand, some things that are going to be less easy to swallow: Vieira’s red card in comparison to other recent yellows. Havertz and his confidence, and how he fits into this team. Giving up a goal when there was so little impetus from Burnley to get forward. The continued inconsistency of approach by the VAR officials on how to operate. Fortunately, that’s about it.

A last word

On this Day of Rememberance, known as Veteran’s Day in the United States, let us indeed recall the lives lost in Flanders’ fields. In light the goings-on in the world up to this very minute, the memory of their sacrifice is essential as we strive towards peace. Arsenal’s victory today enabled me to be that much happier as I considered the last of Robinson Jeffers’ lines from his poem “Advice to Pilgrims”:

Finally I say let demagogues and world redeemers bab-
     ble their emptiness
To empty ears; twice duped is too much.
Walk on gaunt shores and avoid the people; rock and
     wave are good prophets;
Wise are the wings of the gull, pleasant her song.

35 Drinks to “On the 11th day of the 11th Month”

  1. 1
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Scruz,
    Your report was more interesting than the highlights I just watched but at least we got the three points. We’re still missing some va-va-voom and we also miss Jesus a lot.
    Anyway, on to the interlull.

  2. 2
    Ollie says:

    Cheers scruz!
    Interlull ahoy. Fingers crossed we come back rejuvenated.

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    I’m reading your report just before heading off for an Act of Remembrance in our town. Thanks for including that verse . It provides a sense of priorities .
    I missed the game as we had visitors but your excellent report , added to the highlights that I saw gives a sense of events .
    The season has settled into a pattern now and we are getting a sense of how and where we might need to strengthen . You are quite right in pinpointing the relative weakness of the midfield and that is a midfield in which Rice has slotted seamlessly and is producing exactly what we expected when we signed him . We always miss Odegaard and Partey would add much but compared with last season we are unbalanced because Xhaka played so effectively in an advanced left 8 role . We just haven’t had that this season . Havertz and Vieira just don’t cut it. £100 million wasted . Two players with zero personality . Rice has enough personality to balance this out but it throws a huge burden on him
    Upfront Trossard was £25 m very well spent and in defence we acquired Tomi, Saliba and Gabriel for less than £75m. All terrific purchases .
    We are doing well, second and in good touch in the PL, almost qualified in the CL and we will improve when our casualties return. Much to enjoy but we do need to strengthen that midfield . The interlull awaits but a number of our charges won’t join their countries as they are already injured. A blessing in disguise?

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    What a delight to rise on a Sunday morning and find an overnight review from California to read over my toast and coffee. Our day started well. We arrived at the stadium about 2.15 and joined the throng in the concourse after watching the Wolves Spurs match. We had arrived in about the 86th minute and Spurs led 1-0. Five minutes later Wolves equalised with a superb goal and a huge roar went up. Six minutes later they went ahead and this time it took the roof off. “Tottenham get battered, everywhere they go” rang out and we walked into the beautiful crisp autumn day to watch our game in good heart.

    Of our walking wounded we were glad to see Tomi and Saka in the starting XI although it seems Benny was unwell.

    I had expected Burnley, who score a lot of goals, to give Raya more problems than Sevilla in mid week and so it proved. He made a couple of good and important saves in that first half. I’d still rather see Ramsdale but Raya did well yesterday. Trossard was terrific all game, bravely in for his goal and swinging in a great corner for big Willy to nod in (I love it when we score from corners). The game was finished off by Zinny’s bravura scissor kick into the top corner. Trossard man of the match for me. As TTG says above, what a bargain.

    Vieira’s red card was totally justified and we all saw it was high from 50 yards away. When you catch a man on the knee with your studs, even if unintentionally, you’ve got to go. And I don’t want to hear any whataboutery about other teams. Incidentally Burnley were the least physical side we’ve played in the last few weeks, probably to their detriment. It was noticeable that we were very left sided yesterday, with Martinelli seeing far more of the ball than Saka, with Zinny, Rice and Trossard all working the ball to him and Odegaard and Benny, who normally feed Saka being absent.

    So a comfortable and deserved 3-1 win. I returned home for a resistive whisky and my dinner expecting similar praise and satisfaction from the rest of the goonerverse. Instead I found lots of cries of “boring” and “tedious”. Well you’re entitled to your views but they are not mine. We had Jesus, Partey, Odegaard, White and Timber missing. Half the first team.

    After an awkward couple of games we have bounced back to find ourselves at the top of our Premier league and Champion’s league tables with all those players to come back. We’re in fine position for the next stage of the season. Well played Arsenal. And do cheer up everybody!

  5. 5
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thanks for the report, Scruz. Pretty much the game I saw from a little north east of C100. Good day all in all. Early meet at the hostelry of choice with 10 others to celebrate a birthday in the group, gentle walk to the ground arriving just in time to hear that Tottenham do indeed get battered. Pretty low key game in which, in keeping with much of the season so far, we only really fired in fits and starts and did what we needed to do and no more. Nearly a third of the way through the season and despite playing only a small number of games in anything beyond what feels like 2nd gear, in comparison to last season, we are second, no lower than third by this evening, behind the Abu Dhabi FFP machine. Pretty darn good, considering.

  6. 6
    Bathgooner says:

    I didn’t see the game live so your report adds considerable colour to the 30 minutes of highlights that I saw last night. You make watching a game with the Silicon Valley Gooners in San Jose one of my aspirations. It sounds like a great experience.

    Mission accomplished in the absence of four first choice players isn’t something to be sniffed at. Especially after two challenging games in the past week, the second only 72 hours earlier. Three cracking goals (almost literally with the first) and no complaints here about the red card. Silly boy, Fabio!

    Hopefully our walking wounded will get to put their feet up for the next fortnight.

  7. 7
    Ollie says:

    Great stuff, C100!

  8. 8
    Trev says:

    Thanks Scruz, you’ve covered all the right points and in exactly the right order, to paraphrase one Eric Morecombe.

    I will refer you completely to TTG for further comment and save cyberspace by not repeating it all here. Done my bit for the environment too 😉

  9. 9
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks scruz for a fine report and a
    late thanks to Ned for a fine preview.

  10. 10
    bt8 says:

    Cheers, Scruz and thanks for the report. I only got to see the first half live and had to leave to attend as mrs. bt8 was being awarded with something or other so still haven’t seen “la etapa complementaria” as our Mexican friends call the second half. Excellent to get the flavor of the SVG experience in San Jose. Do they serve any tasty Mexican food in the bar?

  11. 11
    North Bank Ned says:

    A fine report, Scruz, spot on in its judgement and its last word. It is timely to remember that of the 18 Arsenal players who served in the Great War and 45 former players, six lost their lives on active service.

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

    To add to Scruz’s fine report here are Mike McDonald’s thoughts.

    A glimpse of the mountain top (Positives, Needs & Hopes) [ARS 3-1 BUR]

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@4: I am halfway with you on the entertainment value of yesterday’s game. Prosaic is how I described the performance in the previous drinks. It certainly wasn’t boring or tedious, and there was joy to be taken from all three goals.

    Having been given a season to adjust to Premiership football, Vieira is not making the grade. If there is anything to reports that we are looking at various attacking midfielders to bring in in January, Arteta may agree.

    Partey’s absence, more than Harvertz’s presence, is unbalancing our midfield when we have the ball. Jorginho is good defensively but lacks Partey’s progressive passing and ability to carry the ball forward. I imagine a central midfielder is also on Arteta’s shopping list for January.

    I still hold out hopes for Havertz. Opinions of him will be much higher once he reverses his woeful form in front of goal.

  14. 14
    BtM says:

    That’s an excellent review of the game that I saw from my perch in the stadium, Scruz. However, I couldn’t have managed that amount of detailed recall. Superb stuff. Silicon Valley Gooners – best laid plans gang aft agley. Another time I hope.

    To my mind this game mirrored several in which Tomas Partey and Martin Odegaard are unavailable. Their absence, and the resulting impact on Saka’s contribution, reduces our creativity to a level that is well below that which was evident at our peak last season. Despite that, the team is finding ways to put the ball in the back of the net that keeps the points take ticking over even if the entertainment level doesn’t often drive my pulse rate to previously enjoyed highs.

    I can only endorse the plaudits paid by other drinkers to the performances of our best players on the day. Rice’s effort and sustained driving commitment is marvellous. I’d love to see just a few games with TP5 and MO8 in their best roles with Declan outdoing Granit in the Xhaka.

    I was hoping (surprisingly for me) that Vieira would replace Havertz as a creativity spur. That didn’t quite work out, did it? The infringement that resulted in the red card looked very mysteriously innocuous from my vantage point in real time. The highlights real revealed the problem.

    I thought the stadium atmosphere was a bit muted, particularly after the furore in the bar area that resulted from Wolves late battering of the lilywhites and set up the afternoon very nicely. Possibly the early rendering of ‘North London Forever’ to accommodate the Remembrance Ceremony and the emotions stirred by The Last Post contributed. Who knows?

    In any case, great three points, grand to be back at the top and hopefully Chel$ki can do the League a favour this evening.

    Win the next one.

  15. 15
    BtM says:

    @12 C100, Mike McDonald is a very good read, very thoughtful insights. I think we have two of the very best wingers in world football and I’ve often thought that I’d like to see them swap wings during games in the spirit of innovation and unexpectedness that MA8 seeks to foster.

  16. 16
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks for the Mike McDonald link, C100. He is right to highlight Koleosho. If Trossard was a bargain, then Burnley’s US-born Italian was a steal at 3 million euros. It is no mean feat to have the beating of Saliba for pace, if not leg length; do Saliba’s calves bionically extend for those last-ditch tackles he makes so cleanly? Koleosho’s acceleration and drive were impressive, but as McDonald asks, has he the rest of the game to flourish at the elite level?

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    The latest leaderboard for the GHF Predictathon has been posted. You know where to find it.

  18. 18
    bt8 says:

    That’s a great picture of Zinchenko’s follow through on his magnificent scissors kick. But based on his facial expression, it doesn’t look like Saliba thinks the shot will be going in. Is he thinking “Not Row ZZ again?”

  19. 19
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent review Scruz!

    In its workmanlike simplicity and good enough efficiency I felt this was a performance to be rather hopeful about, especially given the key absentees. Kompany’s side defended space well and credit to him that instead of sending his players out to kick Gabi and Saka to pieces they actually tried to defend fairly, and succeeded partially. I like this kind of uneventful, “prosaic” to quote NBN, routine victories.

    Technically secure and accomplished players were key to the result, especially Trossard, Tomiyasu and Zinchenko. Rice and Jorginho were solid enough but their games don’t complement each other that well yet. Whereas Rice has the engine to overcome that slight gap in understanding, I find Jorginho suffers more in absence of Martin. As does Saka. Kai’s performance against Sevilla in the midweek was promising enough to hope that he might do a good enough job in the Ødegaard role, but even though he continues to do the basics right he was disappointingly ordinary. Vieira, for all his technical excellence, seems to me still quite hasn’t grasped the uniqueness of PL that almost never he will get that extra second on the ball that he craves.

    I think it’s promising that we are quite far from playing our best football, and yet in the title race. Let’s continue to stay there, bring one (or two?!) reinforcements in January, and peak in Springtime.

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    Peaking in Springtime, Dr. F, is indeed the critical issue as well as avoiding Wintertime and Springtime injuries. Our relatively sluggish start this time around must be the result of a strategy to avoid a repeat of last season’s running out of steam in the stretch run.

  21. 21
    scruzgooner says:

    all, thanks for the compliments.

    noosa, we’re definitely missing the va-va-voom, and jesus isn’t the only one out: ødegaard too adds to that quickness of thought and feet. ttg, if we can get a party-ish replacement (are there any out there?) we’ll be much more balanced even if havertz or vieira comes in for mø. c100 i hope you enjoyed breaking your fast as much as i enjoyed your comment 🙂 baff, we are an aspirational supporters’ group! come visit, i’d love to toast the arsenal with a 6 am pint of guinness…it’s definitely what’s for breakfast. trev, a wise post, i’d say, agreeing with ttg. pun intended! bt8 they don’t have food at the bar except occasionally, for big games. but there’s a der wienerschnitzel next door, if you can stomach a 9 am chili dog after downing a few pints of breakfast. ned, i did remember, but only because i’d done the posts on the great war hiatuses for WW1 and WW2 in comparison to the Covid hiatus. may they rest in peace.

    btm, that’s the advantage of writing it in front of the tv rewatching the game 🙂 when you and mrs. btm get over here, we’ll be at the bar for a morning game, if your visit times during the season with a game we can watch there… ned, mike isn’t the only one to highlight koleosho, yeah? he was the only one of burnley’s players that impressed.

    and if we’re having a sluggish start to avoid injuries later in the season, i do hope the spate we’ve had will be enough to prevent them in the spring.

  22. 22
    scruzgooner says:


    an interesting article, if a bit of a summary of what we all know. i wasn’t aware it was extending into basketball or boxing, though. football, golf, and formula 1, yes.

    once the oil runs out, they won’t have the power…or the money. of course, we might be deep into or past world war 3 by that point, he says pessimistically…

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz @22: The Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan) has a database of Saudi sports investments worldwide.


    There were a bunch of articles based on it when it came out a couple of weeks back.

    Tentacles everywhere.

  24. 24
    Bathgooner says:

    It’s as quiet as the grave in the Goonerverse now and it’s only day 2 of the second interlull in only a month or so. At least we signed off with a win and this window will hopefully allow some of our walking wounded to recover.

    Has anyone heard the outcome of Brazil’s somewhat irritating demand that Jesùs submit to re-examination by their own medics? Presumably all our fit first team players have joined up with their international squads?

  25. 25
    scruzgooner says:

    thanks for the link, ned. and baff, here’s the official statement from pravda:

    “ Our Brazilian trio of Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus have big World Cup 26 qualifiers against Colombia and leaders Argentina coming up. Brazil are currently third in the table.”

    so, not withdrawn. 😳

  26. 26
    TTG says:

    If you received a recent email from Scruz and I asking for your thoughts on our progress so far please try and add your thoughts. We’d love to get wider contributions to the blog and to find out what readers are thinking . If you could send something today it would be very much appreciated

  27. 27
    TTG says:

    Well my last email fell on deaf ears !
    Maybe this attachment from Untold Arsenal , a publication I rarely reference might be of interest. It shows very surprising results about our relative financial status

    Arsenal are now the second most valuable football club in the world

  28. 28
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@27: A quick look at the source of that list suggests it is based on the market value of clubs’ first-team squads, which for a zillion reasons, is not all the same thing as the value of a club.

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    Difficult to evaluate The Arsenal’s real value, for example our Holics support is priceless

    I am sorry to see no one contacted you TTG, be nice to hear our fellow gooners near and far. I wonder if there are any others in Japan.

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    I was confused and so clearly is Tony Atwood because he does refer in the article to the value of the clubs not just the first team squad . As someone with a major ground, that they own, close to central London we should have significant real estate value. Citeh of course don’t own their own ground ( even though they have a naming rights deal on it!) Citeh are apparently about to blow everyone’s mind with their latest financial results . They should be able to survive their imminent relegation then !
    What I would take is Atwood’s point that we wouldn’t have been anywhere near that position in such a list a few years ago

  31. 31
    North Bank Ned says:

    The latest Forbes ranking of the most valuable soccer clubs, which with Deloitte’s, is probably as authoritative as one can get, puts a value on us of $2.3 billion, which ranks us at 10th, behind Real Madrid, the red Mancs, Barcelona, the Scousers, the blue Mancs, Bayern Munich, PSG, the mob at the Bus Stop and the neighbours.


  32. 32
    North Bank Ned says:

    If Ratcliffe is paying what he is reported to be paying for 25% of the red Mancs, that puts a valuation of $6.4 billion on the club. Allowing for the fact that the Forbes list is based on the last reported full-year accounts and United has since done a $1.1 billion 10-year shirt deal renewal with Adidas and got back into the CL, that suggests the Forbes numbers ($6 billion for United) are pretty accurate.

  33. 33
    Bathgooner says:

    Keenos on She Wore this morning (https://shewore.com) provides information on one of the reasons football now interests me less. I do now find myself considerably less engaged by the whole pantomime.

  34. 34
    Bathgooner says:

    Meanwhile blogs has linked to the audio on VAR’s analysis of the Guimaraes assault on Jorginho. (https://arseblog.com/2023/11/jesus-and-brazil-jorginho-guimaraes-var-audio-leaked/) The mendacity is simply staggering.

  35. 35
    Bathgooner says: